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100 Queens Park Circle
Toronto, Ontario

A club for people interested in collecting and learning about the science of minerals. 

Past Talks

January 2013: The Minerals of Southern-Central Morocco

Len Buchanan

Raymond McDougall presented on The Minerals of Southern-Central Morocco – a presentation he and David Joyce put together featuring photographs of this beautiful country, the localities, fine minerals, and some adventurous Walker Club members.
Unlike some parts of the world where mineral specimen production has declined in more recent times, Southern-Central Morocco is experiencing a golden age.  In this broad region, world-famous localities producing spectacular mineral specimens include Sidi Rahal, Imiter, the Bou Azzer district, Taouz, Mibladen, the Aouli district and the Imilchil area of the Atlas Mountains. 
In November, in connection with the second international conference in Midelt, Morocco, eleven members of the Walker Club were among over 100 mineral collectors from all over the world who visited a few of these localities.

February 2013: The Cobalt Silver Mining Area

Len Buchanan

David Joyce presented on the origins of this town, the large silver veins discoveries, and their importance to Canada and mining – giving the country an economic boost, opening up Northern Ontario, and resulting in the start of many of today’s well-known mining companies, including Hollinger, Teck, Noranda and Agnico-Eagle. David noted that Toronto has more mining engineers, mining lawyers, consultants, geologists and financiers than most other mining financial and technical centres in the world combined, due in large part to Cobalt in the first part of the 20th century.
The town of Cobalt lies about 500 km due north of Toronto off Highway 11. In the early 1900’s, the Province of Ontario wanted to open up the north with railway lines and support farming and stimulate other industrial development.  Silver was discovered in the area in 1903 by several railway workers which prompted a visit and report by Ontario’s first provincial geologist and a stampede by thousands of prospectors and fortune seekers staking claims.
In the ensuing years, Cobalt became a large town with a stock exchange, hockey team and an opera house, amongst many other indicators of a bustling town. At its peak there were over 100 mines.
Dave listed theories about the genesis of the silver deposits, for which there are a number, but concluded that the definite origin of the silver veins is still unresolved. He went on to say that veins were generally a maximum of one foot thick and incredibly rich, routinely yielding over 1,000 troy ounces per ton which is much higher ore value than average, compared to other mining camps.

March 2013: Members' Night

Len Buchanan

We had three speakers at the March meeting: Tony Steede, Bob Beckett, and Jim Haase.

Tony Steede and Mineral Chemistry made Easy. Tony provided a definition of a mineral that included “natural, without any involvement by man”.
He touched on fluoro-richterite and that the name has been modified over time to arrive at the current spelling, together with minor formula changes.
Tony used amphiboles to show that minerals have general formulas which show the number of sites in each mineral and how many atoms per formula unit (APFU) of specific elements reside in each site. He then demonstrated how complicated amphiboles can be by showing which elements can fit into each of the five amphibole sites, some of which can fit into more than one.

Using fluoro-richterite as an example, he showed the differences between its actual chemistry in weight percent, its empirical formula, the formula based on actual chemistry, and the end member formula; explaining that they all showed much the same thing.

Bob Beckett gave a brief update on the new Bancroft Gem & Mineral Club Museum being installed in the newly refurbished Train Station along with the Bancroft Chamber of Commerce. The Station restoration project has been moving along slowly as funds have been available with a lot of work still needing to be completed. However the Chamber of Commerce will be moving into the building within the next few weeks and the Club is planning on opening the Museum in mid to late June of this year. Donation of cash, specimens or local mining related artifacts would be most welcome by the Club.

Bob then discussed the status of approximately a dozen collecting sites that have been newly found, several hundred acres of staked and/or rehabilitated localities for the purpose of hobby mineral collecting. With financial aid from the Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization through the Recreational Geology Project this work has been managed by Michael Bainbridge and his team over the past year.

Bob suggested these "new localities" should provide interesting and productive destinations for our 2013 season. A formal presentation to CCFMS member Clubs will be made once the package is released.

Looking back on our 2012 Field Trip Season with Jim Haase was fun and informative. Starting off with the Trip to Hidden Glen, vesuvianite xls were abundant and specimens of molybdenite, and garnet were found by some. Bruce happened upon the largest xls.

Nova Scotia was planned for collecting in late May for the best tides we could hope for, for the summer. Jim came upon a magical vug of chabasite and other fine specimens in the cliff wall, claiming they were the best crystals he ever saw there, but he could not get them out…

Next, the Rose Quartz location and Beryl Pit had a lot of participants finding quality material and participating in a BBQ at a local collector's home. Fun was had by all.

Evan’s Lou Quarry garnered a lot of interest.  More than 50 people participated. Unfortunately, the digging did not produce as much of the variety of minerals available as one might have hoped. But the dumps in the forest revealed some beautiful showy quartz xls and clusters among other things.

As always, the Miller property produced outstanding specimens of tintanite, feldspar, and large apatites.  This August trip had great weather and about 60 participants. There were some very happy collectors at the end of those two days.

Unfortunately the Cobalt trip did not proceed last September but is back on the slate for this September

April 2013: Volcanic Minerals of Japan

Len Buchanan

This joint meeting with the Gem and Mineral Club of Scarborough, Willowdale Club, and CCFMS hosted Alfredo Petrov who entertained everyone with tales of his collecting adventures in Japan.

Alfredo Petrov is a geologist and world-wide traveler who spends his time hunting for mineral specimens, researching new mineral localities, publishing mineralogical articles, translating mineralogical literature and guiding tours to collecting sites.  He has collected minerals in a huge number of places including Argentina, Belize, Bohemia, Bolivia, California, Chile, England, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Macau, Malta, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Spain, and numerous sites in Canada and the United States.  Alfredo is also an avid micro-mounter and writes for numerous publications including Rocks and Minerals, Mineralogical Record, Mineral News, and Lapis. He is also a major player at Mindat.

See Alfredo_Petrov_collecting_in_Japan

May 2013 - Annual Banquet

Len Buchanan

This year we hosted Norm Lotter from Xstrata in Sudbury, ON as our banquet speaker. Norm is an expert in Modern Process Mineralogy, which has been under development as an integrated hybrid discipline for the last 25 years. Norm works with a team in the fields of sampling, geology, mineral science and mineral processing to speed sampling and mineral characterization to bring projects to market more quickly than in the past. There are only about six integrated teams such as Xstrata's around the world, and they are busy all the time.
Norm's department was asked to look at opportunities to become at least partially self-financing and within the first year he and his team generated revenues from other mining companies that ...

Norm described how the industrial process changes identified and implemented at Xstrata Nickel’s Nickel  Rim South Project enabled the mill to treat this new and different ore body.

He also discussed the Sudbury basin and how the Nickel Rim resource has very different mineralogy than   the   conventional   Sudbury   ore, which has been mined and treated at Strathcona for decades.